No-Churn Rocky Road Ice Cream

published Sep 1, 2023
summer
No-Churn Rocky Road Ice Cream Recipe

If you’ve never made rocky road ice cream before, now’s the best time to make this easy no-churn version.

Makes1 1/2 quarts

Prep15 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
rocky road ice cream in a loaf pan with a scoop being taken
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Chocolatey and chock-full of fun mix-ins like marshmallows and nuts, rocky road ice cream is a tried and true classic. For this recipe, we’ve incorporated everything we like about rocky road, plus made it even easier by making it no-churn. So if you’re a fan of the flavor, but don’t own an ice cream maker, you can still enjoy a super-creamy homemade scoop. 

Why Is It Called Rocky Road Ice Cream?

Rocky road ice cream received its illustrious name during the Great Depression as a nod to the tough times that lay ahead. It is also notably the first ice cream to combine candy and ice cream together (before that, ice cream only came in three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry). 

Key Ingredients in Rocky Road Ice Cream

  • Cocoa powder. This recipe calls for Dutch cocoa powder due to its dark rich brown color and smooth, mild chocolate flavor. If you only have natural cocoa powder, it’s fine to use; your ice cream just may be a bit lighter in color with a stronger chocolate flavor. 
  • Marshmallows. Pick up a bag of mini marshmallows to use here. 
  • Almonds. Since the almonds get finely chopped, you can start with whole or chopped almonds. Feel free to use salted or unsalted nuts. And, if you only have unroasted almonds, throw them in the oven and bake until toasted, then let cool before chopping. 
  • Chocolate. To bump up the chocolate flavor, mix in a bar of chopped semi-sweet chocolate. If you prefer, you can use another type of chocolate like milk or dark chocolate.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

How to Make Rocky Road Ice Cream

Thanks to a no-churn ice cream base, this rocky road recipe comes together much easier (and quicker!) than you think.

  • Prepare the base. Combine one can of sweetened condensed milk, Dutch cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and kosher salt in a bowl. 
  • Whip heavy cream. Beat two cups of cold cream until stiff peaks form. 
  • Add the mix-ins. Gently fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk base, then fold in all the mix-ins.  
  • Freeze until solid. Transfer the ice cream base to a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until solid, about six hours. Let sit at room temperature briefly until soft enough to scoop.

No-Churn Rocky Road Ice Cream Recipe

If you’ve never made rocky road ice cream before, now’s the best time to make this easy no-churn version.

Prep time 15 minutes

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup

    roasted almonds

  • 1

    (4-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate bar

  • 1

    (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1/2 cup

    unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 cups

    cold heavy cream

  • 1 cup

    miniature marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Place a 9x5-inch loaf pan in the freezer. Finely chop 1/2 cup roasted almonds and 1 (4-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate bar (scant 1 cup).

  2. Place 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk until combined.

  3. Pour 2 cups cold heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer or whisking by hand). Beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Transfer about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir with a flexible spatula until combined. (This lightens the condensed milk and makes it easier to fold in the rest of the whipped cream.)

  5. Add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold together. It will initially look very lumpy, but as you continue to fold, the mixture will smooth out and become soft and silky. Stop when you see just a few small lumps here and there.

  6. Add the almonds, chocolate, and 1 cup miniature marshmallows. Gently fold them in with the spatula — be careful not to deflate the mixture too much or overmix.

  7. Transfer the ice cream base into the loaf pan. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours and up to 1 week. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften slightly before scooping.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Rocky road ice cream can be frozen for up to 1 week.